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Resources for Indigenous People's Day

Worship ResourcesFactsDocument Samples • Other Links

Worship Resources


by Rev. Mary Hammond

There are no words in the English language adequate to confess the impacts of white settler colonialism on the Indigenous People of this nation and this world.

The first step in the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is to admit that we have a problem.

We come today, this first Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Oberlin, Ohio, and acknowledge that this nation was founded on white supremacy, forced assimilation, and genocide, much of this wedding Christianity with the colonization of the Americas.

This brutal legacy has continued in many forms to this day. The United States as a nation has held no formal hearings on these crimes of lasting magnitude. There has been no national Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There has been no societal reckoning. 

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May the sun bring you new energy by day
May the moon softly restore you by night
May the rain wash away your worries
May the breeze blow new strength into your being
May you walk gently through your world and
Know its beauty all the days of your life.

~An Apache Blessing

Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me.
I come before you, one of your children. I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my people, the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy: myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so that when life fades as a fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.

~Chief Yellow Hawk

Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice.
You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer.
All things belong to you -- the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings ofthe air, and all green things that live.
You have set the powers ofthe four quarters ofthe earth to cross each other.
You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy.
Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things.

Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice.
At the center ofthe sacred hoop
You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.
With tears running, a Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
With running eyes I must say
The tree has never bloomed
Here I stand, and the tree is withered.

Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.
lt may be that some little root ofthe sacred tree stiIllives.
Nourishit then
That it may leaf
And bloom
And fill with singing birds!
Hear me, that the people may once again
Find the good road
And the shielding tree.

~Black Elk 3

The mountains, I become a part of it...
The herbs, the fir tree, I become a part of it.
The morning mists, the clouds, the gathering waters,
I become a part of it.
The wilderness, the dew drops, the pollen ...
I become a part of it.

~Navajo Chant

Grandfather Great Spirit
All over the world the faces of living ones are alike.
With tenderness they have come up out of the ground
Look upon your children that they may face the winds
And walk the good road to the Day of Quiet.

Grandfather Great Spirit
Fill us with the Light.
Give us the strength to understand, and the eyes to see.
Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives to all that live.

~Sioux Prayer

Oh Great Spirit who dwells in the sky,
lead us to the path of peace and understanding,
let all of us live together as brothers and sisters.
Our lives are so' short here, walking upon Mother Earth's surface,
let our eyes be opened to all the blessings you have given us.
Please hear our prayers, Oh Great Spirit.

~Native American Prayer

Oh Great Spirit, Creator of all things;
Human Beings, trees, grass, berries.
Help us, be kind to us.
Let us be happy on earth.
Let us lead our children
To a good life and old age.
These our people; give them good minds
To love one another.
Oh Great Spirit,
Be kind to us
Give these people the favor
To see green trees,
Green grass, flowers, and berries
This next spring;
So we all meet again
Oh Great Spirit,
We ask of you.

~Mohawk Prayer

Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

~Ute Prayer

May all I say and all I think
be in harmony with thee,
God within me,
God beyond me,
maker of the trees.

~Chinook prayer, Pacific Northwest Coast, North America

Sacred one,
Teach us love, compassion,
and honor.
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.

~Ojibway Prayer



American History Myth Debunked: White Settlers did not Carve America out of the Untamed Wilderness

from Indian Country Today

"The pilgrims were the first in a parade of brave settlers who pushed civilization westward along the frontier with elbow grease and sheer grizzled-old-man strength.”

That’s not exactly how it happened though. Most of the information cites comes from 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, a book by Charles Mann, and written records from early colonial times, though they don’t give any actual citations for those.

“Rather than the thick, unbroken, monumental snarl of trees imagined by Thoreau, the great eastern forest was an ecological kaleidoscope of garden plots, blackberry rambles, pine barrens, and spacious groves of chestnut, hickory, and oak. The first Europeans in Ohio found woodlands that resembled English parks—they could drive carriages through the trees,” Mann wrote in 1491.

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Why you should support Indigenous Peoples' Day

from the Cleveland American Indian Movement

Forty years ago, indigenous delegates to the United Nations asked that member countries adopt Indigenous Peoples' Day to replace Columbus Day in October, due to Christopher Columbus's role in both persecuting the original inhabitants of the island he claimed and administered for Spain in 1492, as well as being the "father" of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

We hope you too will support this effort by learning and sharing the truth about Christopher Columbus.

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Indigenous Peoples' Day Fact Sheet

These facts are mostly specific to Oberlin and the state of Ohio, but use them to begin thinking of important questions to learn more about the history of the land your city or state now occupies.

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Facts from Indigenous Peoples' Day Massachusetts

Indigenous Peoples Day is about more than a name change; it’s a refusal to allow the genocide of millions of Indigenous peoples to go unnoticed, and a demand for recognition of Indigenous humanity. Recognizing this day in place of what’s currently known as “Columbus Day” is a way to correct false histories, honor Indigenous peoples, and begin to correct some of the countless wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (what’s now known as the Americas).

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Native American Mental Health

from Joella Byron-Dixon, member of Peace Community Church in Oberlin, OH

Nationally, suicide tends to skew middle-aged and white; but among Native Americans, 40 percent of those who commit suicide are between the ages of 15 and 24. And among young adults ages 18 to 24, Native American have higher rates of suicide than any other ethnicity, and higher than the general population. Although the reasons for youth suicide are complex, the interference with and destruction of cultural structures has caused stress throughout subsequent generations and is a major contributor to suicidal thoughts or actions. Indigenous youth today face the challenge of finding a balance between their place within their indigenous community, and within the mainstream society of the US. Historical injustices, as a result of colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources that many Indigenous peoples have suffered and continue to suffer has to a major extent not been resolved. These have an impact on Indigenous peoples in numerous ways, including physical and mental health, and on the indigenous youth who are often frustrated at the additional challenges they face due to their distinct identity and culture.

Document Samples

These documents provided as examples for others wishing to lead their own local effort to change the Columbus Day holiday to Indigenous Peoples' Day.


These events are from the city of Oberlin's efforts to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day. These events focus on celebrating Indigenous heritages and histories and educating the community about the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights.

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Learn about the ongoing struggle for native rights and a local citizen-led effort to change the Columbus Day holiday to a commemoration of Indigenous Peoples 'Day in Oberlin. Topics will include local indigenous history, facts about Columbus, and how celebrating Columbus Day' impacts indigenous peoples. Committee members include Cinthia Byron-Dixon, Joella ByronDixon, Mary Hammond, and Jean Foggo Simon. The Oberlin Heritage Center is a supporting partner of this free, public program. Location: Oberlin Public Library.

Connecting with Oberlin's Indigenous Heritage

This follow-up to the presentation on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples features further introduction to Native American roots in our community and is accompanied by cultural demonstrations. Family-friendly, free and open to all. Watch for more information on the Heritage Center's website and in summer editions of the monthly E-Gazette. Location: The program begins at the Oberlin Public Library, and we'll walk over to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park for outdoor demonstrations of drumming and dancing.


Letter to the Oberlin City Council from members of Peace Community Church

Letter to the Oberlin City Council from the Cleveland American Indian Movement


Petition from residents of the city of Oberlin to abolish Columbus Day


City of Albuquerque

City of Minneapolis

City of Oberlin

City of Seattle


Oberlin coverage

Other Links

The Zinn Education Project: Abolish Columbus Day Resources

It is time to stop celebrating the crimes of Columbus and stand in solidarity with the Indigenous people who demand an end to Columbus Day. Instead of glorifying a person who enslaved and murdered people, destroyed cultures, and terrorized those who challenged his rule, we seek to honor these communities demanding sovereignty, recognition, and rights. We encourage schools to petition their administration and for communities to introduce legislation to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. Here is some information and resources to join the campaign to Abolish Columbus Day.

Click here for resources.

The Truth About Columbus Day: Why Are We Celebrating?

Today, while millions across America are celebrating Columbus Day, the city of Seattle is celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. That’s because last week, the Seattle city council unanimously passed a resolution to honor the contributions and cultures of Native Americans on the second Monday of October. While Seattle’s decision may seem unusual, it’s actually part of growing trend. Many cities and states across the country have shifted away from celebrating Columbus Day, and that’s because more and more Americans are learning the real history behind Christopher Columbus and his “discovery.”

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